Pakistan Rangers Tuesday shot and hacked to death an injured BSF head constable in J&K’s Ramgarh sector, official sources said.
The body of Head Constable Narender Kumar of D Coy 176 Bn was found near the international border late Tuesday evening with three bullet wounds in the chest, shoulder and right leg, and the throat slit, sources said.
The incident took place a day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated two smart fence pilot projects, which form part of the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) along the international border in Jammu to check infiltration from Pakistan.
The site where the BSF personnel’s body was found is hardly 10 km from Makwal, which is one of the two locations where the smart fence project is being implemented. BSF sources said they have lodged a strong protest with their counterparts.
Sources said the head constable was deployed at BSF’s Majra post and was part of a six-member team clearing “sarkanda” (wild grass) on the Indian side ahead of the barbed wire fence. The Rangers suddenly opened fire and took the BSF team by surprise, sources said. While Kumar was injured, others retaliated and returned to a safe location.
On realising that Kumar had been left behind, sources said the BSF launched a search in the area, which led to his helmet and bloodstains, with the trail leading to the Pakistani side.
Suspecting that Rangers had taken the injured head constable, BSF officers contacted their Pakistani counterparts opposite Majra Post, who denied knowledge about the missing personnel, sources said.
Even as senior BSF officials, including Jammu Frontiers IG Ram Avtar, reached the site, the search continued for nearly eight hours before Kumar’s body was found near the spot from where he had gone missing late Tuesday.
Sources said the body had wounds from bullets fired at a close range. They said that one of the bullets hit the chest and passed through the back, another hit the left shoulder and reached the face just below the left eye, and the third hit the right leg. Thereafter, Kumar’s throat was slit, sources said.
A BSF spokesperson said in a statement that “a BSF party which was on domination patrolling ahead of fence was fired upon” around 10.40 am Tuesday. BSF troops immediately took position and retaliated but enemy bullets hit a BSF jawan, it said.
Regarding the delay in recovering the head constable’s body, the spokesperson said the “area on the Pakistan side has a protective bundh close to the international border. One side is undulated, marshy and having thick sarkanda growth. It made the immediate location of the jawan difficult.” Further action on clearing the area was being taken by BSF troops, the statement said.
Kumar’s body was kept at the Majra post for the night, sources said. On Wednesday morning, doctors from the state-run hospital at Ramgarh were taken to the forward post for the post mortem.
This is the first incident of Rangers slitting the throat of a BSF personnel along the international border in J&K. Since 1999, there have been various incidents of mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops and its border action teams comprising militants along the LoC.